Al Jazeera America launched on 20 August that its operations in the United States, declaring its news coverage will be “unbiased, fact-based and in-depth journalism.” With little fanfare and scant advertisements interrupting its programming, Al Jazeera America (AJA) went live at 4 pm (2000 GMT) in New York, but had yet to appear on many TV sets because of distribution problems.
The launch at a temporary headquarters at the Hotel New Yorker on 8th Avenue in Manhattan was low key and was not immediately reported by US television networks. It capped a decade of trying to break into a field of well-established television news networks in the US.
News reports said former US President Al Gore shut down his Current TV, which served 45 million US homes, and handed over the channel to Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based news organization, who spent $ 500 million for it in January.
AJA bought two pages of advertisement in the New Yorker magazine for its inauguration, declaring: “Know more stories — No more sound bites.” The ad also urged viewers to “change the way you look at news” in introducing Al Jazeera America. “Get more depth, more perspectives, every day.” Kate O’Brien, AJA President and a former ABC News executive, referred to the new channel as “unique,” adding that the channel is confident it is something American audiences are looking for.
Al Jazeera has 70 bureaus around the world, 12 of which are in the US, and a workforce of about 1,000 correspondents and technicians.